Abdullahs threaten to sue Lyngdoh
8 November 2002
Jammu: Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh''s allegation that there was a bid to sabotage the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls, to the benefit of the National Conference, on Friday snowballed into a major controversy. While former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah dared the CEC to either substantiate his allegations or be ready to be legally challenged, the J&K units of the Congress and CPI-M, the two key allies in the PDP-led Government, termed the revelations as ''serious'' and demanded a through probe into them. Dr Abdullah told reporters in Jammu, ''If CEC has said so, then he should substantiate it with evidence or else we will go in for legal proceedings against him.'' Dr Abdullah, who had reached Jammu to file his nomination paper for forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections, termed the statement, emanating from a top constitutional authority, as ''unfortunate'' and said those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Pushing the point further, Dr Abdullah said the CEC should have spent his energies on revision of electoral rolls and issuing of I-cards to the people of the State living in far-flung areas rather than making such statements. National Conference president Omar Abdullah, accompanying his father, said his party has consulted lawyers to file a case in Supreme Court if the CEC does not withdraw the statement or substantiate it. Calling for a probe into the revelations, state Congress chief Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ''The Government should look into it... We can think of Pakistan sabotaging elections, but it was shocking that a section of our own police wanted to sabotage free and fair elections.'' J&K CPI- M general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said in Jammu that ''the State Government should constitute a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to conduct a probe.'' In New Delhi, former Lok Sabha Secretary-General Kashyap called the entire affair unfortunate. ''Mr Lyngdoh''s uncalled for, unfortunate and unnecessary statement hardly serve any purpose except raising a controversy.'' ''What purpose does it serve except for ego-satisfaction... that the Election Commission did a wonderful job in Jammu and Kashmir. Being a constitutional authority, he should have exercised some restraint on what he remarked,'' said Dr Kashyap adding, ''Parading your confidential knowledge in public life is not good.'' Speaking in his personal capacity, former additional solicitor-general and senior Congress leader Devendra Dwivedi said, ''I am still wondering what exactly were the allegations made by the CEC. It was merely of vague nature, suggesting some mischief by somebody. I am surprised by the vengeful reaction by Dr Farooq Abdullah.''